Alan Brinkley (born June 2, 1949) is an American political historian who has taught for over 20 years at Columbia University. He is currently the Allan Nevins Professor of History. From 2003 to 2009, he was University Provost.
Brinkley was born in Washington, D.C. He is the son of Ann (Fischer) and David Brinkley, a long-time television newscaster at NBC and ABC. Alan Brinkley is also a brother of Joel Brinkley. Brinkley was an undergraduate at Princeton University and received his doctorate at Harvard University in 1979.
Brinkley's scholarship has focused mainly on the period of the Great Depression and World War II. Among his books are Voices of Protest: Huey Long, Father Coughlin, and the Great Depression (1983),[a] which won the National Book Award; The End of Reform: New Deal Liberalism in Recession and War (1995); Liberalism and its Discontents (1998); and The Publisher: Henry Luce and His American Century (2010), which won the Ambassador Book Prize and the Sperber Prize, as well as being a Pulitzer Prize finalist. He is the author of two short biographies: Franklin D. Roosevelt (2009) and John F. Kennedy (2012).
His essay "The Problem of American Conservatism" was published in the American Historical Review in 1994.
He is one of three American historians to have been both Harmsworth Professor of American History at Oxford (1998-1999) and Pitt Professor of American History at Cambridge (2011-2012). He is an honorary fellow of the Rothermere American Institute at the University of Oxford. He received the Jerome Levenson Teaching Prize in 1982 at Harvard University, where Brinkley taught for seven years; and the Great Teacher Award at Columbia in 2003.
He is the chair of the board of the Century Foundation in New York, and he is the chairman of the National Humanities Center in North Carolina. He was also a trustee of Oxford University Press from 2009 to 2012, and a trustee of the Dalton School.
Brinkley is the senior author of two best-selling, frequently updated American history textbooks, American History:A Survey and The Unfinished Nation. They are widely used in universities and in AP high school classes. He also wrote the commonly used AP US History textbook American History: Connecting With The Past.
Brinkley took over sole responsibility for the ninth edition of the American History: A Survey textbook from historians Richard N. Current, Frank Freidel, and T. Harry Williams. He had joined the team to help with the 1979 revisions.
Historian Emil Pocock, evaluating the ninth edition of 1995, said it is:
- Typical of the mass market textbook....Brinkley offers a traditional narrative of American history. Built around a core of political and economic events, this attractive colored text contains a good selection of illustrations, maps, charts, and other graphics, as well as other features designed to make it stand out among the competition....This latest edition has integrated additional material on immigrants, Native Americans, African-Americans, and women into the political narrative.
He lives in New York with his wife, Evangeline Morphos, and his daughter, Elly.
- America in the Twentieth Century (1960), co-authored with Frank Freidel; 5th ed. published in 1982 – used in college 20th century U.S. history classes.
- American History: A Survey, originally by Richard N. Current, T. Harry Williams, and Frank Freidel (1961), by Brinkley in recent editions, reaching the 11th ed. in 1995, 13th ed. in 2009, and 15th ed. in 2015 — used especially for AP U.S. History and International Baccalaureate History courses.
- 1982 Voices of Protest: Huey Long, Father Coughlin, and the Great Depression — winner of the National Book Award[a]
- 1992 The Unfinished Nation: A Concise History of the American People (2 vols.). Later eds. are co-written by Harvey H. Jackson and Bradley Robert Rice.
- 1995 The End of Reform: New Deal Liberalism in Recession and War
- 1998 Liberalism and Its Discontents
- 1999 Culture and Politics in the Great Depression
- 2009 Franklin Delano Roosevelt
- 2010 The Publisher: Henry Luce and His American Century
- 2012 John F. Kennedy: The American Presidents Series: The 35th President, 1961-1963
- 1983 National Book Award for Voices of Protest[a]
- 1987 Joseph R. Levenson Memorial Teaching Prize, Harvard University
- 2003 Great Teacher Award, Columbia University
- 2006-2007 Scholarly Journal Award by Kathy Walh-Henshaw at St. Mary's Lancaster
This was the 1980 award for hardcover History.
From 1980 to 1983 in National Book Award history there were dual hardcover and paperback awards in most categories, and several nonfiction subcategories including General Nonfiction. Most of the paperback award-winners were reprints, including the 1983 History.
- "Alan Brinkley". Contemporary Authors Online. Detroit: Gale. 2011.
- See "Provost Brinkley Will Return To Teaching, Research" November/December 2008
- "National Book Awards – 1983". National Book Foundation. Retrieved 2012-04-13.
- Peter J. Parish, ed. Reader's Guide to American History (1997) pp 692-93.